Senior counsel P Wilson, representing Tamil Nadu Minister Udhayanidhi Stalin, argued that the right to practise and propagate atheism is protected by Article 25 of the Indian Constitution, which guarantees the right to practise and propagate religion, as reported by Hindustan Times.
Wilson also contended that Udhayanidhi's speech is safeguarded by Article 25 when read in conjunction with Article 19(1)(A), which secures freedom of expression.
The case arose when a Hindu organisation filed a quo warranto petition challenging Udhayanidhi's eligibility to hold public office due to alleged remarks against Sanatana Dharma made at an event last month.
Wilson emphasised that the petitioners had brought this case forward because Udhayanidhi's political party, the DMK, holds views antithetical to their own.
As per Wilson's remark, the DMK is recognised for its advocacy of Dravidian ideology, championing values like self-respect, equality, rational thinking, and brotherhood. In contrast, the opposing group is often associated with divisions rooted in caste.
Justice Anita Sumanth presided over the case and decided to continue the hearing on 31 October. She also requested the petitioners to provide evidence, such as the event's invitation and the list of attendees, where Udhayanidhi is alleged to have made the controversial remarks.
This legal dispute has ignited a broader ideological debate, highlighting the complex relationship between freedom of expression and the protection of religious and irreligious beliefs under the Indian Constitution.
Nayan Dwivedi is Staff Writer at Swarajya.
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